A Georgia sheriff announced that he is offering an award of $500,000 of his own money to anyone who has information leading to an arrest or conviction in the case of Kendrick Johnson, NBC News reports.
Ashley Paulk, Sheriff of Lowndes County, announced on Thursday that Johnson's case would be closed and no charges would be filed in a 16-page report detailing the investigation.
Johnson's family vehemently disagreed with the conclusion of the investigation, saying his death was covered up by law enforcement.
“After the release of my synopsis of the Federal files on the Kendrick Johnson case, his parents have called me a liar and continue to state that Kendrick was murdered," Paulk said in a statement.
"Because of these statements, I am personally—with my own funds—offering a reward of one-half million dollars ($500,000.00) to anyone who comes forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of a person for the alleged murder of Kendrick Johnson at Lowndes High School," he continued.
As EBONY previously reported, in January 2013, Johnson's body was discovered rolled up in a wrestling mat at the Lowndes High School gymnasium in Valdosta. According to the police report, officials assert that his body was positioned head down with his feet visible at the top of the mat, in the vertical position.
Paulk described Johnson's death as a "weird accident" and that he along with two other detectives analyzed 17 boxes of files on the case for an entire year before releasing the report last week. Additionally, the reward he is offering is "one last avenue" for the sheriff's office to obtain evidence and information that they may have missed in their investigation.
"I’m willing to put up those funds to see if anybody comes forward with anything viable that might have been missed," Paulk said.
"I don’t really feel like there’s anybody out there with knowledge and from what I’ve seen—I studied all the camera angles and everything else—it was a tragic accident. But if somebody comes in with a different view we’re going to listen to them,” he added.